The day had given way to evening but none in the Valapart Manor seem to notice. Lucia Valapart's guest, Eelco, Artair and Erhi sat in the study near sipping Champagne de le Stomp; an expensive wine from Nouvelle Averoigne. The heady wine had caused an ease to fall over the trio as their grateful host asked all manner of questions of her ernst protectors.
"So you all then decided to travel to Glantri to join the Great School of Magic?" asks Lucia.
"Well we all aren't interested in joining the school," replies Artair. "But the idea of settling in the capital and then exploring the Wizard Warrens appealed to the few of us without aspirations of an arcane profession."
"While I was interested in the School," interjects Erhi. "It quickly became apparent that it wasn't something I wouldn't like, regardless I am drawn to the possibilities that the capital offers; especially mercantile avenues. My family are traveling merchants between Glantri and the Khanate."
"Really," says Lucia. "My father is a merchant from Darokin. We are here so he can expand his business here. We could almost be sisters!"
Lucia lets out a squeal and claps her hands vigorously.
"I have a perfect idea," says Lucia excitedly. "Let try on some of the clothes I just bought. There must be something that would suit you just fine."
Erhi winces at the thought of being a spectacle for her companions.
"That would be an amazing idea Miss Valapart," says Eelco with a devilish grin. "Erhi just loves dressing up!"
"Since when?" replies Erhi.
"Please call me Lucia," interjects Lucia.
"Since it would be rude to refuse our host's hospitality," says Eelco while giving Erhi an encouraging nod. "My apologies Miss Valapart, Lucia it is.
It must have been the wine because before long Erhi found herself parading before Lucia and her friends in one outfit after another. When it seemed that wouldn't be an outfit that suited her, Erhi walked out in a crimson ball gown with white trim and a broad brimmed hat. Erhi loved it. The smile on her face as she spun around in front of her audience and the mirror in the room told everyone that fact.
"That is the one!" exclaims Lucia. "You simply must take it."
"I couldn't," replies Erhi.
"Nonsense," says Lucia. "I insist. You all saved me from that runaway wagon today. It is the least I can do."
Artair and Eelco nodded to Erhi to encourage her to accept Lucia's gift. Erhi scrutinized Lucia trying to see her angle. Erhi had a hard time trusting people but she could see nothing but genuine desire to be kind coming from Lucia. Erhi looked in the mirror one more time and then nodded yes. Lucia let out another squeal of delight and lept up to take Erhi's hands, jumping up and down with happiness.
"This calls for a drink," says Eelco holding up his half empty glass of wine.
"Alas it seems we have drank all your wine," replies Artair holding up an empty bottle and looking at a few other discarded bottles.
"That is fine," replies Lucia. "There are plenty of taverns in the West Side. Let us continue our merriment at one of them. Maybe you could introduce me to your other companions. I would love to meet them."
"An excellent Idea," says Eelco.
"Agreed," replies Artair.
Lucia and Erhi retire to change into more appropriate attire before the four of them make their way to their companion's Inn. The rest of the evening is spent in good company and spirits. Lucia was quick to embrace the companion's cliche and before long had told as many stories as she heard. The night ended with Artair escorting Lucia back home before returning to his room to collapse on the bed; welcoming the embrace of sleep while dreading the hangover to come...